Regional and Statewide Plans

Dominguez Basin Wildflowers

Photo: Leslie Hunsaker

Plans and Policies That Implement Statewide Priorities and Are Consistent with Coastal Conservancy Objectives

The following identifies and provides details about statewide plans and policies that are consistent with the Conservancy’s mission and strategic plan objectives. This listing is not intended to be exhaustive: There may be other existing statewide plans or policies that are consistent with the Conservancy’s mission and objectives, and new statewide plans and policies undoubtedly will be adopted that will also be consistent.

State Policy Plans

  • California @ 50 Million: The Environmental Goals and Policy Report (2013 Draft): This report contains a 20- to 30-year overview of projected growth in the state, along with goals and objectives for land use, population growth and distribution, development, natural resources, conservation, and air and water quality. The goals are consistent, as required, with state planning priorities identified in AB 857 and include the following (the strategies that the Conservancy can implement follow each goal):
    1. Preserve and Steward the State’s Lands and Natural Resources
      • Increase ecosystem services and biodiversity
      • Increase resilience of natural systems to recover from disruption
      • Promote use of “green infrastructure” to lessen environmental impacts of development and to provide protection from natural disturbances
      • Preserve agricultural lands and working landscapes to support the state’s agriculture and forestry industries in the most sustainable manner
    2. Build Sustainable Regions that Support Healthy, Livable Communities
      • Invest in sound infrastructure that is consistent with the state’s long-term environmental goals
      • Build a redevelopment program that allocates funds in alignment with environmental goals through some of the following activities:
      • Natural resource protection plans that reflect long-term environmental goals;
      • Adoption of climate change or sustainability plans that address emission reduction as well as steps to build climate resilience; and
      • Develop plans to help communities manage planned retreat from rising sea levels.
      • Support and invest in active transportation projects, such as walking and biking infrastructure, including safe-routes- to schools
    3. Build Climate Resilience into All Policies
      • Build resiliency into new planning processes and into ongoing planning efforts.
      • Consider future climate conditions and impacts of climate on existing and planned infrastructure
    4. Improve Coordination Between Agencies and Improve Data Availability
      • Create a culture of collaboration through institutional and procedural means
      • Leverage and link state funding opportunities
  • AB 857 State Planning Priorities (Ch. 1016, Statutes of 2002; Government Code Section 13102) requires revisions to the EGPR, to be consistent with the following state planning priorities:
    1. Promote infill development and development of underutilized land that is presently served by transit, streets, water, sewer, and other essential services, particularly in underserved areas, and preserve cultural and historic resources.
    2. Protect environmental and agricultural resources, wildlands, recreational lands, and landscapes with locally unique features and areas identified by the state as deserving special protection.
    3. Encourage efficient development patterns.

Governor’s Executive Orders

  • Executive Order S-13-08 directed all state agencies planning construction projects in areas vulnerable to future sea level rise to plan and consider a range of sea level rise scenarios for the years 2050 and 2100 in order to assess project vulnerability and, to the extent feasible, reduce expected risks and increase resiliency to sea level rise. In June 2009 the Conservancy adopted a climate change policy and project selection criterion consistent with this directive. The Conservancy amended this criterion in November 2011 to incorporate findings from the National Academy of Sciences.
  • Executive Order W-59-93 established the California Wetlands Conservation Policy, which addresses approaches to the conservation of wetlands and sets the goal of achieving a long-term increase of wetlands acreage, functions, and values in California.

State Climate Adaptation Plans

  • Safeguarding California: Reducing Climate Risk Plan (July 2014). The Safeguarding California Plan provides policy guidance for state decision makers and is part of continuing efforts to reduce impacts and prepare for climate risks. The report highlights climate risks in nine social, economic, governmental, and environmental sectors and makes sector-specific recommendations. In 2016, the report was followed by Safeguarding California: Implementation Action Plans, which presents implementation plans that represent a master blueprint for executing actions recommended in the 2014 report. Strategies from the 2014 report that have been or may be implemented by the Conservancy include:
    1. Agriculture. Support projects that promote:
      • soil conservation
      • innovative sustainable farm operation systems that integrate energy, water, and natural resource conservation
      • watershed protection
      • flood protection through restoration of streams and wetlands
      • reduced farmland conversion
      • dissemination of information about management practices to store carbon in soils
    2. Biodiversity and Habitat
      • Develop management practices to help safeguard species and ecosystems from climate risks by improving habitat connectivity, protecting climate refugia, and implementing adaptive management studies to refine conservation approaches.
      • Support environmental stewardship across sectors by promoting nature-based solutions for adapting to climate risks and creating support tools to prioritize conservation activities.
      • Improve understanding of climate risks to biodiversity and habitats by completing habitat and vegetation mapping, refining regional connectivity analyses, conducting additional species and habitat vulnerability analyses, and understanding extreme events and disturbance regimes.
      • Quantify baseline carbon information associated with natural systems.
      • Develop pilot projects to refine understanding of greenhouse gas storage associated with natural systems.
      • Create and maintain partnerships that support biodiversity conservation and promote public education and outreach.
    3. Emergency Management. Support forms of hazard mitigation including:
      • green infrastructure and other protective structures to address sea level rise
      • managed shoreline retreat
      • stabilization of river banks and restoration and creation of wetlands
      • urban forestry and urban greening to address heat island effects
      • use of cool pavements to reduce urban heat island effects
    4. Energy. Promote measures that reduce energy demand through support of green buildings, cool roofs, cool pavement, urban greening, and energy-conserving land use practices.
    5. Forestry
      • Assess and implement cost-effective forest watershed protection and restoration projects.
      • Identify priority landscapes and support actions to increase forest resilience.
    6. Ocean and Coastal Ecosystems and Resources
      • Improve management practices for coastal and ocean ecosystems and resources, and increase capacity to withstand and recover from climate impacts.
        • Avoid hazards from new development.
        • Encourage innovative design of new structures and infrastructure in areas vulnerable to sea level rise.
        • Support the State Coastal Leadership Group through collaboration with the Ocean Protection Council, the state coastal management agencies, and the state agency land owners (State Parks, State Lands Commission) to increase the state’s capacity to reduce risks from sea level rise and extreme events.
        • Support pilot projects to demonstrate the effectiveness of innovative shoreline management techniques.
        • Study and support investment in cost-effective green infrastructure to reduce flood risk and storm water runoff and maximize associated co-benefits.
        • Address climate impacts in local coastal programs.
        • Continue progress toward a more integrated ecosystem approach to management of ocean resources.
        • Continue development of the state sediment master plan and sediment management activities.
      • Develop a better understanding of climate impacts on ocean and coastal ecosystems and resources.
        • Further vulnerability assessments and cost analyses.
        • Continue support for scientific modeling as an essential component of project development.
      • Promote information sharing and education by:
        • Improving maps and tools
        • Providing training to incorporate best-available climate science into planning and operation and management decisions for assets at risk from sea level rise.
    7. Public Health
      • Improve the capacity of communities to prepare, respond, and recover from climate-related health risks by supporting implementation of recommendations in the 2013 report, Preparing California for Extreme Heat: Guidance and Recommendations.
        • Expand the use of cool, porous, and sustainable materials in pavements.
        • Promote and expand urban greening and the use of green infrastructure as part of cooling strategies in public and private spaces.
      • Support active transportation measures through development of pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure and non-infrastructure programs and approaches.
    8. Water
      • Vigorously prepare California for flooding by reconnecting rivers to their floodplains, rehabilitating upper watershed source areas, and providing more natural floodplain features and functions that slow, spread, capture, and infiltrate floodwaters throughout a watershed.
      • Prepare California for hotter and dryer conditions and improve water storage capacity.
      • Protect and restore water resources for important ecosystems.

California State Water Plans

  • California Water Action Plan. The California Natural Resources Agency, the California Environmental Protection Agency, and the California Department of Food and Agriculture developed this Water Action Plan to meet three broad objectives: more reliable water supplies, the restoration of species and habitat, and a more resilient, sustainably manager water resources system. It lays out the state’s challenges, goals, and actions needed to put California’s water resources on a safer, more sustainable path. The plan identifies ten overarching strategies to protect our resources, include the following seven that the Conservancy can help implement:
    1. Make conservation a California way of life (expand agricultural and urban water conservation and efficiency).
    2. Increase regional self-reliance and integrated water management across all levels of government (fund regionally driven, multi-benefit projects that prioritize protection of public health, assist disadvantaged communities, increase regional self-reliance, and result in integrated, multi-benefit solutions that ensure sustainable water resources).
    3. Achieve the co-equal goals for the Delta (restore Delta Aquatic and Intertidal Habitat in priority areas listed in the Delta Plan, including the Suisun Marsh and western Delta/eastern Contra Costa County).
    4. Protect and restore important ecosystems (restore coastal watersheds and strategic coastal estuaries to restore ecological health and nature system connectivity to benefit local water systems and help defend against sea level rise, eliminate barriers to fish migration).
    5. Manage and prepare for dry periods (small-scale tanks or impoundments to reduce extraction from streams during low flows).
    6. Expand water storage capacity and improve groundwater management (increase groundwater recharge).
    7. Increase flood protection (encourage flood projects that plan for climate change and achieve multiple benefits).

State Species and Habitat Protection Plans

  • State Wildlife Action Plan (2015 update). The State Wildlife Action Plan 2015 presents a vision for fish and wildlife conservation, identifies species of greatest conservation need, and recommends actions that are implementable, measurable, and time-bound. It describes conservation strategies to maintain and increase ecosystem and native species distributions and abundance and to maintain and improve ecological conditions and ecosystem functions and processes. The Conservancy implements conservation strategies within several geographic conservation units that SWAP 2015 groups within four provinces: North Coast and Klamath, Bay Delta and Central Coast, South Coast, and Marine. The Conservancy also implements strategies for anadromous fish that were developed at a statewide scale. Categories of strategies, as described in Section 4.2, that the Conservancy implements are:
    • Data Collection and Analysis
    • Partner Engagement
    • Management Planning
    • Direct Management
    • Economic Incentives
    • Environmental Review
    • Land Acquisition, Easement, and Lease
    • Land Use Planning
    • Outreach and Education
    • Training and Technical Assistance
  • California Aquatic Invasive Species Management Plan (2008). This California DFW plan proposes 163 actions to address the environmental and economic threats caused by aquatic species in California. The Conservancy supports invasive species control actions when the invasive is a serious threat to coastal resources. The Conservancy coordinates with state and federal fish and wildlife agencies and supports recommendations in the report related to eradication and control efforts, as well as actions pertaining to protection of native species (Page XV).
  • California Essential Habitat Connectivity Strategy for Conserving a Connected California (2010). This Plan was produced by California Department of Transportation and California Department of Fish and Wildlife in collaboration with many other agencies, including the Coastal Conservancy, as well as non-governmental organizations. The plan and associated map identifies 850 natural landscape blocks and 192 essential connectivity areas. It focuses attention on large areas important to maintaining ecological integrity at the broadest scale, and recommends regional and local analysis to refine the linkages map and to identify additional areas important to sustaining ecological connectivity.

State and Federal Species Recovery Plans

State Supported, Collaboratively Developed Eco-Regional and Watershed Plans

  • NCCPs/HCPs: As of June 2013, there were 45 regional conservation plans. Habitat Conservation Plans integrate land-use activities and conservation goals to reduce conflicts between listed species and economic development, and are required for incidental take permits. Natural Community Conservation Plans are broader in their orientation and objectives than the California and Federal Endangered Species Acts, which focus on individual species rather than natural communities. The Conservancy may support implementation actions called in the plans located within its jurisdiction.
  • Pacific Coast Joint Venture Northern California Component Strategic Plan Update 2004. The Pacific Coast Joint Venture facilitates and coordinates public and private partners in accomplishing activities that support the goals for the North American Waterfowl Management Plan along the Pacific Flyway, and includes member organizations from Alaska, Canada, Washington, Oregon, Hawaii and Northern California. The Northern California Component of the Strategic Plan provides recommended conservation actions for important bird habitat in Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte counties.
  • San Francisco Estuary Watersheds Evaluation, by the Center for Ecosystem Management and Restoration (2007). This report, funded by the Coastal Conservancy, assembles for the first time all readily available information regarding steelhead habitat in tributaries of the San Francisco Estuary. Watersheds are screened for “anchor watershed” status, indicating their relative importance in restoring the regional steelhead population.
  • San Francisco Estuary Project Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (approved by the Governor and U.S. EPA Administrator in 1993, updated in 2007, a new update scheduled for 2016). Representatives from state and federal agencies and private and community groups in the twelve-county Bay Delta region came together and through a consensus-based process developed this plan, a blueprint for restoring and maintaining the estuary through corrective actions in nine program areas. It seeks to achieve high standards of water quality, including restoration and maintenance of a balanced indigenous population of fish and wildlife, and to support recreational activities. The Conservancy assists in implementing five of the nice program areas, including aquatic resources, wildlife, wetlands management, and watershed management.
  • San Francisco Bay Subtidal Habitat Goals 50 Year Conservation Plan (2010). The purpose of this plan is to achieve a net improvement of the subtidal ecosystem in the San Francisco Bay through science-based protection and habitat restoration. Led by state and federal agencies, more than 75 scientists and others contributed to the development of science, protection, and restoration goals for six subtidal habitats including soft substrate, rock, artificial structures, shellfish beds, submerged aquatic vegetation, and macro-algal beds. The Conservancy is assisting with implementing many of the goals including sea grass and oyster restoration, and removal of creosote pilings.
  • San Francisco Baylands Ecosystem Habitat Goals Report (1999) and
    Baylands Ecosystem Habitat Goals Technical Update (2014). These reports were each prepared by a large consortium of public agencies and scientists and resulted in specific goals for acreages and habitat types for baylands around the San Francisco Bay. The Conservancy has been a major implementer of the goals through its support and leadership in wetland restoration projects including the Napa Salt Marsh, Hamilton, and the South Bay Salt Ponds. The technical update contains a set of far-reaching management recommendations for Bay Area shorelines to restore and maintain these vital ecosystems in the face of climate change, including their role in building resilience to sea level rise.
  • San Francisco Bay Area Upland Habitat Goals Project and Conservation Lands Network (2011). The Upland Goals Project is a project of the Bay Area Open Space Council funded in part by the Coastal Conservancy. It is a collaboratively developed science-based landscape-level conservation plan for the nine-county Bay Area region. Multiple factors, including conservation targets, goals, land use, adjacency to protected lands, and the ecological integrity of the landscape were assessed to identify “essential” and “important” areas. These are depicted on a web-based map, the Conservation Lands Network, that can be used by agencies and organizations to prioritize conservation activities within the region. Climate change impacts to the habitat goals has been a major focus of the Terrestrial Biodiversity and Climate Change Collaborative (TBC3), a group of university, nonprofit and governmental researchers in the San Francisco Bay Area that conducts research, monitoring and outreach to enhance conservation and land management in the face of climate change. The Open Space Council has participated in the project since the beginning and is incorporating the results into the Conservation Lands Network Explorer.
  • Critical Linkages: Bay Area and Beyond Project (2013). Led by Science and Collaboration for Connected Wildlands, with the participation of the Bay Area Open Space Council and others, this project complements the statewide essential connectivity plan by incorporating the habitat movement needs of over 60 species and animals for priority landscape linkages within the counties of the San Francisco Bay Area and San Benito, Monterey, Mendocino, and Lake. It identifies 14 landscape level connections that together with the Conservation Lands Network provide a comprehensive plan for such a regional network.
  • Bay Area Integrated Regional Water Management Plan. Prepared initially in 2006 and updated in 2014 with assistance from the Conservancy in collaboration with the Department of Water Resources, this plan identifies major regional water resource needs and priorities for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area region.
  • Santa Cruz Integrated Watershed Restoration Program. Developed by the Santa Cruz County Resource Conservation District (RCD), Coastal Conservancy, California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG), Coastal Watershed Council, and the City and County of Santa Cruz as a voluntary framework in 2002, this program is heralded as a model for collaborative, integrated watershed conservation. Since IWRP’s inception, the RCD and its partners have been able to design, permit, and construct over 80 water quality improvement and habitat restoration projects throughout the County. The Conservancy has supported many of these projects, as well as expansion of the program into San Mateo and Monterey Counties.
  • Southern California Wetlands Recovery Project (WRP). The WRP is a partnership of 18 State and federal agencies working in concert with local governments, conservation organizations, and the business community to acquire, restore, and improve coastal wetlands and natural areas from the Mexican border to Point Conception. It is chaired by the Natural Resources Agency and staffed by the Coastal Conservancy.
  • South Coast Missing Linkages (2008 and ongoing). This project, led by Science and Collaboration for Connected Wildlands, addresses fragmentation at the landscape scale. It identifies and prioritizes linkages that conserve essential biological and ecological processes. The linkages project has served as a catalyst for protection of ecological connectivity for the south coast ecoregion. There have been 11 detailed and implementable linkage designs developed using focal-species based analysis. The Conservancy can support implementation of some of these designs.

California Coastal Sediment Management Master Plan

A multi-agency work group is engaged in an on-going collaborative effort to evaluate California’s coastal sediments management needs and to promote regional system-wide solutions. The master plan is being developed through a series of region-specific sediment master plans. The Conservancy has contributed to development and implementation of some of the regional plans.

Access and Recreation Plans

  • Completing the California Coastal Trail. In 2003, the Coastal Conservancy prepared this strategic blueprint for the California Coastal Trail pursuant to Senate Bill 908 of 2001. The plan recommends ways for the Conservancy, Coastal Commission, State Parks, Caltrans and other state agencies to work together to facilitate completion of the trail. In addition, it identifies both policy and implementation priorities for completing the CCT. Many counties and regions have developed more specific plans for completing the CCT in their area including:
  • San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail Plan and EIR. A plan for a network of launch and landing sites to allow people in human-powered boats or beachable sail craft to enjoy San Francisco Bay through single-day and multiple-day trips on the Bay, developed by the State Coastal Conservancy, Bay Conservation and Development Commission, Association of Bay Area Governments, and Division of Boating and Waterways. California Assembly Bill 1296 in 2005 established the San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail.
  • San Francisco Bay Trail Plan. The plan for the Bay Trail proposes development of a regional hiking and bicycling trail around the perimeter of San Francisco and San Pablo Bays. The Plan was prepared by the Association of Bay Area Governments pursuant to Senate Bill 100 in 1987, which mandated that the Bay Trail:
    • provide connections to existing park and recreation facilities,
    • create links to existing and proposed transportation facilities, and
    • be planned in such a way as to avoid adverse effects on environmentally sensitive areas.
  • The Great California Delta Trail Plan. In 2006, Senate Bill 1556 (Torlakson) mandated that the Delta Protection Commission adopt a plan and implementation program for a continuous recreational corridor trail network through all five Delta counties, linking the San Francisco Bay Trail system to the planned Sacramento River trails in Yolo and Sacramento Counties, pending funding availability (Public Resources Code section 5854). The Plan for the Great California Delta Trail (Delta Trail) is to include routes for bicycling and hiking, with interconnections to other trails, park and recreational facilities, and public transportation. The plan is in progress, with the Western Region Blueprint (Solano and Contra Costa Counties) completed thanks to support from the Coastal Conservancy.
  • 400 Miles and Beyond: A Strategic Plan for Completing the Bay Area Ridge Trail. This report released by the Bay Area Ridge Trail in 2006 lays out priorities for the completion of the 500-plus mile multi-use trail encircling the ridgetops of the San Francisco Bay Area.

State Agency and Multi-Agency Strategic Plans

In addition to the Coastal Conservancy strategic plan, many Conservancy-supported projects implement elements of other agencies’ strategic plans.

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